Rock Lodge Club, near Stockholm, NJ

Rating: 4 out of 5.

After years of wondering about it, my adult daughter and I visited Rock Lodge Club in late summer of 2019. I was most familiar with the place due to the efforts of Felicity Jones during her years of promoting naturism through the Young Naturists of America – a group that no longer exists. It turns out she essentially grew up at Rock Lodge, and wrote at length about the virtues of holistic, family naturism to be enjoyed there. Founded in the early 1930s, this is one of the American Legacy Clubs, chartered by the pioneers of naturism in the United States. There’s a historic stone lodge (and thus the name of the place) near the entrance, and a fairly good size lake that’s big enough to paddle around in a kayak or canoe. There’s no swimming pool, but instead, a small beach where most guests congregate to swim and play in the water. They have a fairly strict membership policy, but at the same time, have been working with various groups of younger naturists from the NYC metropolitan area. In fact, I think one young couple owns a cabin on the property. It’s a beautiful place, not that far from suburbia. Most definitely worth a visit on a warm summer day.

WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO GET THERE? This is one of the few naturist places in America that you could viably reach without a car. In fact, as I drove up, another day-use visitor arrived on bicycle. NJ Transit trains come within about 20 miles. Maybe there’s a bus connection. We found a quintessential NY Deli en route, packed a bottle of wine, and arrived prepared for a picnic by the lake, which turned out to be a good plan as I don’t recall there being food concessions on the grounds.

WHAT’S THE FAMILY VIBE? Really nice! A few families with small children splashing in the lake, along with several twenty-somethings hanging on the floating dock and paddle boarding around the lake. I read there’s a trail that goes up the ridge, but we didn’t check it out. I wish we had found this place when our children were young as it seemed much more family-friendly than other places we’ve visited in the east.

HOW ARE THE ACCOMMODATIONS? I think there may be rental cabins available, and also rooms for rent in the famous Rock Lodge, but we didn’t check out either option as we were just there for a day visit. You’re also close enough to any number of chain hotels that you could easily make that your home base for the weekend and simply visit as a day guest. Perhaps this summer we can manage an overnight stay.

ANYTHING ELSE WE SHOULD KNOW? Last summer, Rock Lodge never fully opened to visitors due to the pandemic, but their website indicates that they’re on track to open again in the spring of 2021. As a membership club, you’ll be asked a lot of questions when you call to make a reservation on the phone, and there will be a lot of paperwork once they let you in through the front gate. We had to take the obligatory tour – naked, as I recall – which seemed more about coaching us in naturist etiquette than actually seeing the grounds – ironic, having just returned from an extended naturist vacation in Europe. These orientation/interview sessions can be pretty annoying, but once we got through that, we had the run of the grounds and were left to ourselves to enjoy a day in the sun. I’d most certainly go back.

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